The City of West Hollywood announced on Wednesday that it will host a town hall forum next week addressing the issue of “Chemsex.”
In partnership with the Institute for Public Strategies, the City aims to provide information and raise awareness about chemical sex (“Chemsex”), and to promote harm reduction and sober sex among community members, with a special emphasis with men who have sex with men (MSM) and sex workers.
Chemsex, a term that originated in Europe that has begun to supplant the use of terms like “party and play” here in the US, is the use of substances such as meth, GHB, cocaine, or MDMA, among other substances, to facilitate or enhance sexual activity.
In a press release, the City cites studies finding that men who have sex with men may use drugs to help manage negative feelings, such as lack of self-esteem and confidence, internalized homophobia, or stigma about HIV status. The forum will include a panel of experts, including former Chemsex participants, and will facilitate an honest discussion about sex and the use of substances.
West Hollywood Councilmember John J. Duran commented, “West Hollywood is more than 40 percent LGBTQ and we are a sex-positive community. The reality, though, is that Chemsex […] comes with risks that can be deadly. We know that men who have sex with men are at disproportionate risk. The City of West Hollywood supports a wide array of direct services including substance use, recovery, and health and mental health services and we have a responsibility to engage in honest conversations about trends in our community that can lead to dangerous consequences. Talking with one another about Chemsex, reducing stigma, and raising awareness will help promote behavior change and harm reduction.”
The City of West Hollywood works through its Social Services Division to provide services to community members through agencies that provide substance abuse, recovery, and other health and mental health services. For additional information, visit www.weho.org/wehocares.
The Chemsex town hall forum will take place on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 7 p.m. at the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard.